Step aside, George R. R. Martin. Rian Johnson apparently enjoys offing characters more than you do. Johnson’s apparent bloodlust resulted in a surprising number of deaths in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

Supreme Leader Snoke didn’t make it to the third chapter, but now lies in three parts. Luke Skywalker is catching up on much-needed father and son time within the Force. Vice admiral Amilyn Holdo is stardust, and Captain Phasma is likely ash. Johnson even killed off Admiral Akbar, two porgs, and almost all of the Resistance. That last one is the most significant in terms of shaping the forthcoming sequel. The Resistance barely exists, and the call for help to others in the galaxy wasn't heard.

Yes, there is the kid with the broom who represents hope existing. The weight of that reveal becomes more important if vast amounts of time pass between the events of The Last Jedi and Episode IX. If little time passes, the opening scroll for the next chapter could be along the lines of "The Resistance is in desperate need of help," or "The First Order tightens its grip on the galaxy." If years pass, the opening could be "Rey is training a new generation of Jedi, and "The Resistance is taking on a new shape."

Whether a jump in time is made or not, The Last Jedi left a sizeable breadcrumb trail for Abrams to follow, should he choose. I've seen the film three times now, and have put together a list of plot threads I think we'll see continue or conclude in Episode IX.

Rey builds a lightsaber
In one of The Last Jedi's final shots, we see Rey talking to Leia aboard the Millennium Falcon. If you look closely, Rey is holding the remains of Darth Vader's lightsaber – the blue Force crystal is visible. If little time passes, I believe we will see Rey create her own lightsaber, perhaps a double-sided one much like her staff. If more time passes, I assume she will have this weapon, but its origin won't be explained.

Kylo Ren becomes Darth Vader 2.0
Snoke made a comment about Kylo Ren being the next Darth Vader, but then called him a weak boy. Kylo defeated Snoke, and is probably pounding his chest over the victory. His line of thinking after this moment is probably "I am the next Darth Vader." I fully suspect this means he will bring terror back to the galaxy. We'll also likely see the return of the helmet, or perhaps a new mold with a bit more Vader to it.

Luke Skywalker returns with friends in tow
If Episode IX's script follows what has come before, Luke will likely return as a Force ghost for a scene where he imparts wisdom upon his one-day Padawan. In an interview with Huffington Post, Johnson hints that Abrams and co-writer Chris Terrio could explore what happens to a Jedi when they merge with the Force. “The idea of Luke having passed into another realm and what the potential could be there for his involvement, that seems like it just gives you a whole other realm to get into if [Abrams and Terrio] chose to in the next film," he said. As much as I would enjoy seeing what's on the other side, giving explanation to this mystical element may be a bad idea, unless of course this means we get to see Ewan McGregor as ghost Obi-Wan. If that's the case, spend half of the movie in Force Ghost World.

Poe Dameron leads the Resistance
Leia basically handed the Resistance over to Poe on Crait. The "don't look at me, follow him" moment rings of the future. Poe may have been reckless up to this point, but recognizing he couldn't defeat the First Order on Crait shows a degree of change. He'll likely be more like Leia in how he leads the Resistance in Episode IX.


Broom Boy Is One of Many
I hate to say this, but Broom Boy has a name, and it's kind of terrible. He's Temiri Blagg, defender of fathier freedom. I'm guessing we'll see him again in Episode IX, either as a Padawan in training or as an older leader of a Resistance team. He represents hope for the galaxy, and will likely be one of many pockets of fighters who were inspired by the legend of Luke Skywalker. I think we'll see the galaxy unite and rise up against the First Order in this next film. The days of watching a small team of resourceful rebels save the day are likely behind us. I expect a huge, galaxy-wide war.

Finn and Rose Spread the Word
I suspect Finn and Rose will once again be far removed from Rey and Poe in Episode IX. Rose planted the seed of hope on Canto by showing Blagg the ring. I could see Finn and Rose going door to door (or planet to planet) to build up the Resistance.

Leia is Mentioned, Not Shown
The Force Awakens focused on Han Solo. The Last Jedi put Luke Skywalker in the spotlight. Episode IX was supposed to General Leia's movie. I'm guessing the original plan was for Leia to confront her son and either turn or end him. That obviously won't happen now. That story now falls to Rey. I don't think we'll see Leia at all – not as a hologram, or even as a voice over an intercom. I'm guessing she will still be alive and well, and a part of the Resistance. We'll hear of her heroics, but that's it.

The Knights of Ren
We briefly saw Kylo Ren leading a small group of heavily armored warriors in Rey's dream sequence in Force Awakens. At the time, we believed this vision showed us how Luke's students were killed. The rain may tell us something different. It wasn't raining when Luke's academy was burned to the ground. This could be a future vision that will gain clarity in Episode IX. Whether that's true or not, Ren will likely have the knights at his side to destroy as much as he can. A final showdown between Rey and Ren is obviously in the cards, but I bet we see a battle between the Knights and Rey's own Force-powered team before the masters exchange blows.

Rey's Parents
Abrams likely won't change who they are, but there's a chance we'll see them in a flashback sequence. I think this story owes us at least that much. I am in the camp of loving that they are nobodies. That reveal makes Rey a more dynamic character. I would like to see who they were in a film, not a Marvel comic.